Sunday, August 19, 2012

Letters Home: Must Be Attitudes for Believers

"Being" Christian doesn't happen overnight. Neither a prayer nor lip service make an effective Christ-follower. A genuine confession, to God, that you are a sinner can "save" you, but that confession comes from the well-spring of either a heart broken by Christ, or for some other purpose. Only you and God know your heart. Now, this is not to say that anything other than humble-brokennesss won't produce a genuine life in Christ. God already loves you and desires that you be with Him. Once you've asked to be His ....He is overjoyed and faithful. But don't think that the Christian-life begins and ends there. God's plan is already mapped. You won't change that. However, God's plan for "you" is open to your influence.

My son is in the process of becoming a Marine. I am unsure if he went into this journey for the right reasons. In fact, had he known all of what to anticipate it is reasonable to consider that he would have changed his mind. Will this make him a lesser Marine? Is it more honorable had his heart already been fully aware? His mother and I can confirm, through letters home, even in doubts and unexpected scenarios and circumstances ....he is being strengthened and proven, and that again! His letters home reveal evidence of this "changing" occuring before his, and our, very eyes. It is a change for bettering him, humbling him, and yes... breaking him to a degree. He is seeing a bigger picture of life outside himself.

No differently... Paul wrote his letter to the Philippian church to encourage them; not with words that there is no battle, or there are no worries, or no suffering for Christ' cause ......but to encourage them that within them exists everything needed to live a full, satisfied, completed, un-regretful life as a Christ-follower.

Paul was imprisoned at least twice for his belief and servitude to Christ. He ultimately died as a result. He was imprisoned for things such as exorcising a demon. This "hostility" toward him as a Christ-follower was not such that he could write his senator of a gross injustice nor would it be on the evening news. No, his only real option was to live "through" the injustices. And "how" he did that was key to Christianity.

"I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ."
-Philippians 1:12-13

Do folks know you're a Christ-follower?
Will you take ridicule for being a Christ-follower?
Will you take, even, inconveniences for being a Christ-follower?

"And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."
-Philippians 1:14

How do unbelievers act when around you?
How do you respond to their actions?

"Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. To Live Is Christ Yes, and I will rejoice,"
-Philippians 1:15-18

Do you "own" your faith?
Ultimately, being Christian is not about "you". It benefits you, and that is God's desire. But if we view our Christianity through the lense of our own benefit we can only live a taker's life in Christ. Viewed through a lense of being willing, and ready, to suffer for Christ ...God can "use" us.